IBM SAN Volume Controller

What SAN Volume Controller (SVC) can do for your business

Built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize™ software—part of the IBM Spectrum Storage™ family—IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) is an enterprise-class storage system that helps organizations achieve better data economics by supporting the new large scale workloads that are critical to success. SVC systems can handle the massive volumes of data from mobile and social applications and enable flexible hybrid cloud deployments and deliver the performance and scalability needed to gain insights from the latest analytics technologies.


Improve data value

Reduce the cost of storing data by increasing utilization and using data reduction, and accelerating applications to speed business insights.

Increase data security

Help protect data from disclosure, and enable a complete high availability strategy including data and application mobility and full DR protection including to the cloud.

Enhance data simplicity

Support a data strategy independent of infrastructure choice with tightly integrated enterprise-class functionality and consistent management across heterogeneous storage.

Six 9s availability

Gain the highest levels of availability to support your mission-critical applications.

Protect against cyber threats

Add a line of defense against ransomware with immutable and isolated copies that can be quickly recovered following an attack.

Key Features for IBM SAN Volume Controller

Enhancing storage function

IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) includes IBM Spectrum Virtualize technology to help insulate applications from physical storage. This enables applications to run without disruption, even when changes are made to the storage infrastructure. It also helps make new and existing storage more effective. SVC includes many enterprise-class functions traditionally deployed separately in storage systems, providing greater flexibility and lower costs.

Deploying hybrid cloud presents fresh challenges. How to implement without the expense of replacing storage with cloud-capable systems? In a multi-vendor environment, how to avoid the complexity of multiple cloud solutions? IBM Spectrum Virtualize in SVC and public clouds enables data migration to cloud or cloud disaster recovery with a single hybrid cloud solution for any of more than 500 supported storage systems, speeding and simplifying deployments while slashing potential cost.

Data reduction

Data reduction pools support sophisticated technologies to reduce storage usage: thin provisioning, deduplication, compression, and deallocation and reuse of unused capacity. With hardware-assisted compression, data reduction pools can be used with active primary data, which dramatically expands the range of candidate data that can benefit from data reduction. When applied to new or existing storage, they can significantly increase usable capacity while maintaining application performance.

Data Resilience

Data resilience is of critical importance in the digital era. You need to be protected from and able to quickly recover from data destructive events of any kind, including natural disasters, cyber-attacks and human error. IBM SAN Volume Controller provides a complete set of data resilience capabilities with high availability, business continuance and data security features including non disruptive data migration, remote mirroring, high availability using IBM HyperSwap and stretched cluster technologies, a 100% data availability guarantee, and safeguarded immutable copies that help protect from cyber attacks.

Improved application availability

Large enterprises cannot tolerate application downtime and yet moving data is one of the most common causes of planned downtime. IBM Spectrum Virtualize data virtualization with SVC enables moving data from one storage system to another or between arrays, while maintaining access to the data. This function might be used when replacing older storage with newer storage, as part of load-balancing work or when moving data in a tiered storage infrastructure from disk drives to flash.

Deploying tiered storage is an important strategy for controlling storage costs. Until now, however, management and functional differences among different types of storage—even from the same vendor—have made implementing tiered storage operationally complex, limiting deployments. Automated storage tiering with AI-based Easy Tier® can help improve performance at a lower cost by enabling more efficient use of flash storage or multiple tiers of disk drives.

Six 9s data availability

Data availability is of crucial importance for business: any downtime causes immediate impact including loss of customer loyalty and financial costs. SVC systems with current software deliver six 9s (99.9999%) data availability. These systems include no single point of failure, enterprise proven control software, and ability to perform maintenance concurrently with I/O. In addition, cloud-based IBM Storage Insights detects configuration errors to further improve availability.

Multi-site high availability

The IBM HyperSwap® function supports storage and servers in two data centers. In this configuration, the solution enables servers at both data centers to access data concurrently with automated switch-over in case of failure. When combined with server data mobility functions such as VMware vMotion or PowerVM® Live Partition Mobility, this configuration enables nondisruptive storage and virtual machine mobility between the two data centers, which can be up to 300 km (186 miles) apart.

AI-driven management and proactive support

Learn more about IBM Storage Insights

IBM Storage Insights can help you better understand trends in storage capacity and performance and expedite resolution when support is required. Storage Insights monitors the health, capacity and performance for block storage managed by SVC and networking from Broadcom and Cisco on a single pane of glass. Using predictive AI-based analytics, it helps identify potential issues before they become problems. When support is needed, it helps speed resolution by simplifying tickets and automating log uploads.

Scalability and performance

SVC is an integrated, modular highly scalable system. SVC engines are deployed in pairs for high availability; a system contains one to four pairs. SVC systems can be upgraded without disruption with more engines for greater performance. Two engine models are available to suit differing price/performance needs. Available networking options include 32 Gbps fibre channel, 10 Gbps ethernet, and 25 Gbps ethernet. SVC supports iSCSI, fibre channel, FC-NVMe, iWARP and RoCE protocols.

Simplified management

IBM Spectrum Virtualize software provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for centralized management. With this single interface, administrators can perform configuration, management and service tasks in a consistent manner over multiple storage systems—even from different vendors—vastly simplifying management and helping reduce the risk of errors. SVC supports Container Storage Interface (CSI), Red Hat Ansible, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and VMware vCenter.

Complement server virtualization

Server virtualization and containerization help speed and reduce the cost of server provisioning; storage virtualization has similar benefits for storage. IBM Spectrum Virtualize in SVC complements server virtualization and containerization technologies such as IBM PowerVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Red Hat OpenShift, CRI-O, and Kubernetes.